$600,000 taken from safe at Osteen’s megachurch

HOUSTON (AP) — Authorities are investigating after $600,000
in checks and cash was stolen from a safe at Pastor Joel Osteen’s
Houston megachurch, which has one of the largest congregations in the
Police spokesman Kese Smith said Tuesday $200,000 in cash
and $400,000 in checks were stolen from a safe sometime between 2:30
p.m. Sunday and 8:30 a.m. Monday.
The theft was reported Monday
morning by a church employee and an off-duty sheriff’s deputy who
provides security at the facility.
No arrests have been made, Smith said.
Church officials declined to comment Tuesday.
a statement issued Monday, Lakewood Church said the money and checks
taken, as well as some envelopes with written credit card information,
were limited to funds given during this past weekend’s Saturday and
Sunday services.
"We are working with the police to fully
investigate the incident," the statement reads. "The funds were fully
insured, and we are working with our insurance company to restore the
stolen funds to the church."
The church encouraged people who made
contributions this past weekend to keep track of their accounts and
report any suspicious activity.
But church officials noted there
was no electronic data breach and that individuals who put their
offerings in a drop box, gave online or made a bookstore purchase were
not affected.
More than 40,000 people attend weekly services led by Osteen, whose televised sermons reach nearly 100
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights
reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or